Copyright, Pia

I first started injuring myself in the 7th grade. I didn’t think of it as harmful at the time, I thought of it as the only way to relieve my stress. When I first started all I would do would be take a thumb tack or pin and push it through the 1st layer of my skin. Then as I got older this didn’t relieve my stress anymore, so I began to take my nail file and rub it against my skin until I had a pretty good size burn wound. Things began to get really bad right after my grandma committed suicide. I blamed myself, I thought I could have stopped her. After that I cut all the time. Eventually my two best friends found out about it and I promised them I would never do it again. I couldn’t keep that promise. Cutting was the only way that my inside pain would disappear. By the time I was in the 9th grade (which is the grade I am at now) I would use knifes, scissors, nail trimmers, anything sharp that could possibly cause me to bleed. I know I need help but if my parents ever knew it would just kill them, so I keep to myself and only talk to my boyfriend about it. He tries to understand, even though he really doesn’t because he never had to go through it, but I’ll live, I’ll survive. And hopefully one day I’ll beat this and be cut free once again.

A month later, Pia sent me this:

Most children are taught to express their feelings freely and to say what they feel. I never did this. I could never express my hurt and pain to my family. They wouldn’t have understood. From first grade and up I had kids pick on me, and call me names (like fatty Patti, or Patti wagon). Also I’ve always remembered my parents fighting, day in and day out; fights, physical abuse, emotional abuse and so forth. Conditions like these can lead some children into drug abuse, alcohol abuse, doing poorly in school, or even becoming abusive to others. But in some occurrences, these life factors can lead a child into depression, or lead them into the dangerous life of self mutilation. Self mutilation is a psychological condition where the person cuts, burns or harms themselves in any way to relieve stress, or to express their feelings in the only way they think is possible. I am in that group of self mutilators and this is my story.

When I was in the seventh grade I started to have these overwhelming feelings of hate, anger and sadness. I felt I didn’t fit in, I would never have a boyfriend and I would always just be fat and ugly. I never expressed my concerns to my parents because I felt stupid saying these things to them. And of course I couldn’t tell my friends because they were the ones that I was envious of. They were the thin girls with boyfriends that always fit in. So when I would get these feelings I would go into my room and cry. But after a while the crying didn’t help anymore. One day, when I just had enough with being me, I took a push pin out of the wall and dug it under the skin of my index finger. At the time I didn’t realize what or why I was doing this. After I took the pin out my anger was gone. I was amazed and from that day on, whenever I felt unhappy or mad I would turn to that small push pin in my room to relieve my emotional pain.

When I got into the eighth grade, things got worse. First off, on the first day of school that year, my grandmother committed suicide. I felt awful because I hadn’t seen her in a while and just the day before I had a chance to see her but I told my dad I was “too busy”. To this day I regret having those words leave my mouth. After all this had happened I was in a state of confusion and anger at myself. I believed if I saw her the day before I could have stopped her somehow. My dad was hit hard with this too, so he was drinking more and more in secret. He became violent and aggressive during this time, taking his anger out on anyone in his path. One day I just happened to get in his way and he started yelling at me for no good reason. I ran into my room and looked for my push pin, but it wasn’t there. I looked all over but couldn’t find one. So I sat down at my desk, upset and not knowing what to do. Then I noticed my new nail file just laying there. I picked it up and examined it. I thought to myself “This looks pretty sharp”. I took it and started to run it across my wrist until I made a small incision. I was crying, but at the same time I was relieved. I had found a new friend.

After that I would just wear bracelets all the time, no one noticed, or even cared to look at my wrist. My eighth grade experience was tough for me. Whenever I saw one of my friends with a new boyfriend, I would go into a state of depression, hating myself, and then cutting to get rid of the feelings. Eventually I got close to this group of friends and one of them confided in me that she tried to cut the initial of this boy she liked into her hand. I broke down and told her everything, and eventually I ended up telling 2 more girls that I was close to. I liked getting the attention from them and every time I made a new mark I would show them. I really don’t know what was going on in my head at that point. Every time I made a new mark, it would end up being bigger than the last. Soon I cut anywhere that I could, my legs, arms, hands, feet. But I tried to stay away from my wrists because it was getting too noticeable. After a while my friends had made me promise never to do it again or they would tell my parents. So I made the promise to them. Did I mention I was never good at keeping promises? I told them I had stopped, when I really hadn’t. I just covered up the marks and acted happy around them, when really I wasn’t. once I started, it was like I couldn’t stop. Every negative feeling I had was taken care of in the same way. It actually started to scare me because no matter how much I wanted to stop, it was like I just couldn’t.

During the summer between eighth and ninth grades was a bad one for me. I stopped using the nail file and I moved onto sharper items, such as knifes, razor blades and scissors. The wounds were getting larger and deeper every time I made a cut. But still no one noticed. I always wore bracelets on both wrists, I had scars on my arms and legs but no one in my family looked at what they were.

Then when I finally reached high school, ninth grade, I made a shocking discovery, my friend that I’ve known for a while, was also a cutter. Her condition was much worse than mine. I saw her arms covered in scars, no clean skin. Then it hit me what it was like to be worried about a cutter, worried for their life.

From that day on, I have seriously tried to stop cutting, and have only cut about 5 times since then. Which is a great thing since that was about 4 months ago. To this day I have around 30-35 scars on my body. I wish someone would have found out about this and I got the help I need. But I never have and probably never will. Cutting is a very dangerous condition. I should know since I’ve managed to live through it. If you know anyone in danger you should immediately tell someone; a trusted adult, a parent or even school teacher. It could save someone’s life.


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